Church of Satan, Satanic Temple, and Theistic Satanism

I did some looking around this afternoon and wanted to write down what I found. I was prompted to do this research after an article appeared in the Washington Post titled, “An After School Satan Club could be coming to your kid’s elementary school.” I’ll comment on the article at the bottom.

I am a practicing Christian. (I am also a mathematician, so reason plays a key role for me.) I believe that faith in Jesus Christ is the way to eternal salvation and a fulfilling life on earth. Satan is working against us. Satan uses various (often indirect) means (c.f. C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters). I believe that all three of the the following (even though the first two claim to not worship Satan) are the work of Satan.

Some statements taken from Wikipedia.
I intend to be intentionally brief. Follow the links for more.

Church of Satan

Started in 1966, by Anton Szandor LaVey.  Church of Satan is dedicated to the religion of LaVeyan Satanism as codified in The Satanic Bible, which was written by LaVey. The church does not believe in or worship the Devil or a Christian notion of Satan.[2] High priest Peter Gilmore describes its members as “skeptical atheists.” The Church of Satan does do some good things, and they want outsiders to believe that.

Wikipedia article.

http://www.churchofsatan.com/

While they say they do not worship ‘satan’ or the devil, their website has numerous images of, for lack of a better term, evil looking beings and images associated with satan. What one focuses on is what one pays attention to and what one often comes to worship.  To say the Church of Satan is ‘inherently evil,’ would be an exaggeration (and something a mathematician wouldn’t say), and therefore I am not saying that. I do conclude that the Church of Satan is on the wrong track and should be avoided by children and adults.

The Satanic Temple

(According to Wikipedia, was founded in 2014) Both atheistic and humanist, their stated mission is “to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people”. The group was co-founded by Lucien Greaves, the organization’s spokesperson, and Malcolm Jarry. As above, The Satanic Temple does do some good things, and they want outsiders to believe that.

Satan is thus used as a symbol representing “the eternal rebel” against arbitrary authority and social norms.

Their beliefs appear to be quite close to LaVeyan Satanism.

Wikipedia article.

http://thesatanictemple.com/

[Similar comment:] While they say they do not worship ‘satan’ or the devil, their website has numerous images of, for lack of a better term, evil looking beings and images associated with satan. What one focuses on is what one pays attention to and what one often comes to worship.  To say the Church of Satan is ‘inherently evil,’ would be an exaggeration (and something a mathematician wouldn’t say), and therefore I am not saying that. I do conclude that the Satanic Temple is on the wrong track and should be avoided by children and adults.

Theistic Satanism

This is ‘full-blown’ satan worship. Joy-of-Satan.org says, “We know Satan/Lucifer as a real being,” and “True Satanism is about elevating and empowering humanity, which was our True Creator (Satan’s) intention.”

A common theme of Church of Satan, Satanic Temple, and Theistic Satanism is self-centeredness (humanism) and the importance of me, myself, and I. Christianity has as it’s #2 great commandment to love one’s neighbor as one’s self.

Wikipedia article.

I couldn’t find an official website, but here is www.joyofsatan.org

Clearly, Satan-worship (Theistic Satanism) should be avoided by children and adults.

Washington Post Article

Article: An After School Satan Club could be coming to your kid’s elementary school

The Satanic Temple is offering their After School Satan Club as an alternative to Christian after-school programs.

While one might think that I (as a Christian) would say, “Oh, we need to fight to get the After School Satan Club out of our schools,” I’m not going to say that (at least in those terms).

Here’s my reaction:

  • We have freedom of religion in this country. The first amendment of the Bill of Rights says so.
  • This is our society. We love to let people do whatever they want to (‘especially if it doesn’t hurt someone else’).
  • I actually agree with the courts, The Satanic Temple should  be allowed to have their own after-school program (as do the Boy Scouts, Awanas, and the Good News Club).
  • Free will is not just a decision made by the United States, but a decision God made. Each person is given the choice to believe in Jesus Christ or not believe. (I would say there are many reasons and proofs why one should, but that’s for another day.) Philip Yancey, in his book The Jesus I Never Knew, has a wonderful chapter on the temptations of Christ. He extends the temptations to shed light on God’s logic of allowing free will (in particular, what God decides not to do, to get us to believe).
  • Satan is always working to disrupt and distract us from God (try running the PowerPoint for a church service some time). The After School Satan Club is just one more example.
  • We, as Christians (and those who believe children should be playing soccer after school for that matter), need to offer something better. We must work hard to help people believe in the truth of Christ.
  • The Satanic Temple is ‘selling’ humanism. This is pretty easy to sell and has been followed since ancient times. Humanism is our natural tendency. We’d rather be comfortable than get blisters raking someone else’s yard for them.
  • A primary message of Christianity (Christ) is service before self (to use the US Air Force’s words). To minister means to give aid or service. Serving others (ministry) is a harder sell than humanism, but one we need to help people understand. It is our #2 great commandment and ties to our first great commandment, because as Matthew 25:40 says, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did [fed, clothed, visited, etc.] for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Once understood ministry become a joy for Christians.

 

Golden and Platinum Rules

The Golden RuleWhat-Are-You-Doing-for-Others-7.25

Matthew 7:12 (ESV) 12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

Kant’s Categorical Imperative

[Disclaimer: This is slightly off topic, because Immanuel Kant  (in the top 5 philosophers of all time) was not a Christian. He did have a strong moral sense, and his categorical imperative is central to his philosophy.]

Act (do unto others) only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.

Wikipedia has good explanation.

Platinum Rule

“Treat others the way they want to be treated.”

Site by Tony Alessandra (has book)

http://www.platinumrule.com/ site

Platinum 1a Rule

By Boyd Bailey from http://www.wisdomhunters.com/what-are-you-doing-for-others/

The Golden Rule is empowered by the Platinum Rule: to see others as God sees them, to serve others as Jesus would serve them and to love others as the Lord loves them.  [my emphasis] Our love alone is inferior—it only takes us so far, but when our love is infused by the Holy Spirit it is superior in its ability to go the second, third and fourth mile for the sake of others. Our visible love is sustained by God’s invisible love.

In divisive times, who will lead? Who will Heal?

Very nice piece by @MJGerson 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/in-our-moment-of-division-who-will-lead/2016/07/11/1a8232fa-4798-11e6-acbc-4d4870a079da_story.html

Gerson gives a good analysis of the current (decisive) political situation. 

He sees a need (as do I) for politicians who do not “immediately fall into partisan ruts, or post Facebook banalities.” 

Another good quote is:

In fact, there are people on the left and right who benefit from encouraging just enough division, just enough fear, to motivate their supporters, without tipping them over into violence. They are playing with fire in a parched and withered land.

Near the end of the piece, looking for potential solutions, Gerson points out that an important foundation of the civil rights movements of the 60’s was the church (MLK was a pastor – and scholar I might add). 

[My comment: the slogans of ‘Make America great again’ and ‘Stronger together’ are nice platitudes, but we are not going to have one America again (like, for example, WW II when every 5th grader saved the foil from a Juicy Fruit wrapper for the war effort).]

There is hope (for leadership and healing) in medium-sized* institutions, such as the church. (*’medium-sized’ is my word).

Quote:

Even if we cannot, as individuals, hope to change systemic racism, most of us have the ability to defy our times and reach out across lines of race and religion. And religious people have a particular calling in this area. 

While Hillary or Trump probably will not be able to do much for our divided country or the disadvantaged of Detroit, MI or Macomb, IL, for me and my house I believe that churches, such at Wesley UMC and Walnut Creek, can make a positive difference in this parched and withering land.

Quotes

(See http://en.thinkexist.com/)

 

Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand. St. Augustine

 

“Darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it.”  A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

 

“Two things awe me most, the starry sky above me and the moral law within me.” Immanuel Kant

 

“Humanism was not invented by man, but by a snake who suggested that the quest for autonomy might be a good idea.” R. C. Sproul

 

“Christmas is the time when kids tell Santa what they want and adults pay for it. Deficits are when adults tell government what they want and their kids pay for it.”  Richard Lamm

 

Life is like a coin. You can spend it any way you wish, but you only spend it once. Lillian Dickson

 

AUTHOR:    Hugh Blair (1718–1800)
QUOTATION:    If you delay till to-morrow what ought to be done to-day, you overcharge the morrow with a burden which belongs not to it. You load the wheels of time, and prevent it from carrying you along smoothly. He who every morning plans the transactions of the day, and follows out the plan, carries on a thread which will guide him through the labyrinth of the most busy life. The orderly arrangement of his time is like a ray of light which darts itself through all his affairs. But where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidents, all things lie huddled together in one chaos, which admits neither of distribution nor review.
ATTRIBUTION:    HUGH BLAIR, “On the Importance of Order in Conduct,” Sermons, vol. 1, no. 16, p. 195 (1822).

Early time management advice.

 

Time and information have become our enemies. Without the time to think about the onslaught of information that is paraded before us each day, we have become, by and large, what social psychologists call cognitive misers, preferring emotional reactions and one-dimensional opinions to considered examination. While these often necessary mental shortcuts can help us to reduce our complex world into something more manageable, they can create enormous errors in thought and behavior. These errors can have monumental consequences not only in our own lives but in the collective lives of organizations, communities and nations.   from http://www.foundationsmag.com/wisdom2.html

 

To understand reality is not the same as to know about outward events. It is to perceive the essential nature of things. The best-informed man is not necessarily the wisest. Indeed there is a danger that precisely in the multiplicity of his knowledge he will lose sight of what is essential. But on the other hand, knowledge of an apparently trivial detail quite often makes it possible to see into the depth of things. And so the wise man will seek to acquire the best possible knowledge about events, but always without becoming dependent upon this knowledge. To recognize the significant in the factual is wisdom.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

To share in Christ’s reality is to become a responsible person, a person who performs actions in accordance with reality and the fulfilled will of God. There are two guides for determining the will of God in any concrete situation: 1) the need of one’s neighbour, and 2) the model of Jesus of Nazareth.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer quote

 

“The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer quote

 

“The mark of solitude is silence, as speech is the mark of community. Silence and speech have the same inner correspondence and difference as do solitude and community. One does not exist without the other. Right speech comes out of silence, and right silence comes out of speech.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer quote

 

“Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer quote

 

“To understand reality is not the same as to know about outward events. It is to perceive the essential nature of things. The best-informed man is not necessarily the wisest. Indeed there is a danger that precisely in the multiplicity of his knowledge he will lose sight of what is essential. But on the other hand, knowledge of an apparently trivial detail quite often makes it possible to see into the depth of things. And so the wise man will seek to acquire the best possible knowledge about events, but always without becoming dependent upon this knowledge. To recognize the significant in the factual is wisdom.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer quote

 

“A God who let us prove his existence would be an idol”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer quote in the multiplicity of his knowledge he will lose sight of what is essential.

 

Pilgrim’s Progress Quote

Pilgrim’s Progress Quotes

Christian now went to the spring, and drank thereof, to refresh himself [Isa. 49:10], and then began to go up the hill, saying–

“The hill, though high, I covet to ascend,
The difficulty will not me offend;
For I perceive the way to life lies here.
Come, pluck up heart, let’s neither faint nor fear;
Better, though difficult, the right way to go,
Than wrong, though easy, where the end is woe.”